The cinema halls across the country were shut down on March 18
The cinema halls in Bangladesh could reopen at half audience capacity from October 16, if the trend of Covid-19 infections continues to decline, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said on Monday.
The information minister made the remark at a press briefing after holding a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Chalachithra Prodorskah Samity at the meeting room of his ministry at the secretariat in Dhaka.
Information Secretary Kamrun Nahar, Samity Chief Adviser Sudipto Kumar Das, Senior Vice President Mian Alauddin and Joint General Secretary Sharfuddin Alahi Samrat were present at the meeting, among others.
Discussions on the opening of the cinema halls were held at the beginning of this month, the information minister said.
“At the discussions, we decided we would take a decision on reopening the cinema halls after September 15,” he added.
Hasan Mahmud, also Awami League joint general secretary, further said the decision to reopen cinema halls will not be implemented without the consent of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“If the cinema halls are reopened, everyone should maintain health guidelines and the halls will be only be allowed to fill up to half capacity,” he said.
“You all know that, recreation centres have been reopened in the country and restrictions on public transport have been lifted. Passengers are being transported normally like before,” Hasan Mahmud added.
He also said any decisions to reopen could be reversed if the pandemic starts getting worse.
About the construction of new cinema halls, reopening of halls and their renovation, Hasan Mahmud said the prime minister has given approval in principle to gather funds for providing loans on relaxed terms.
“There were about 1200 cinema halls across the country, but now there are only 200 to 250 cinema halls,” he said, adding that cinema halls are the lifeline of the film industry.
“We sought approval from the prime minister to form a special fund for providing short and long term easy loans to reopen cinema halls, modernize and construct new cinema halls. She gave approval for forming the special fund, which brings revolutionary and positive changes in expanding the film industry,” said the information minister.
Samity chief adviser Sudipto expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for creating the fund.
All cinema halls were shut down on March 18 after the Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh took a turn for the worse.
There was uncertainty about the reopening of cinema halls amid the pandemic until Monday’s announcement, even though film shootings had already started earlier.
Cinema halls across the world are currently going through a turbulent time due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing directives.